Early LOAs

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by brandda, Aug 7, 2011.

  1. brandda

    brandda New Member

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    My son is a rising senior and has completed and submitted his application to USNA. We believe he is a competitive candidate. Here are some of his stats:

    PSAT 206
    SAT Math 760
    SAT Verbal 670
    Class rank: Approximately 15th percentile
    GPA: 5.0/6.0
    5 AP classes
    JROTC Platoon Commander
    Starting member of National Champion JROTC Academic Team
    Cross Country Runner
    etc...

    He also already has a nomination from his ROTC unit. Since he already has his nomination we are really hoping that he might be able to get an LOA from the September boards. Does anyone have any idea how likely that would be? We are trying to set our expectations appropriately.

    Thanks
     
  2. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    LOAs are not what you should be worried about...you need to focus on getting a nomination. LOAs mean nothing if u can't get a nom.

    as far as expectations don't have any regarding a LOA b/c not getting one doesn't mean all that much. focus on finishing up the USNA application and the nomination packets
     
  3. cadet15

    cadet15 Member

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    If your son has a nomination already from his JROTC unit, then the only reason why he would be getting an LOA is if his medical stuff is not done. If his application is complete and he has a nomination, he would be getting an offer of appointment. Most appointments go out in March so it could be a long haul for you, or he could get an early appointment. With the numbers going down at both USAFA and USMA (I am not sure about USNA because I have been in BCT all summer), I would not expect as many early appointments to any of the academies. Not being in admissions though, it is hard to say what exactly they are looking for early on in the game.
     
  4. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Ditto.

    '02's on the money. None can nor should establish an LOA as a goal or expectation. Like manna, they come from USNA heaven, and are for the perceived strategic advantage of the Academy in its relationship with a particular candidate. Specifically it is a peceived need to extend early indication of USNA's intent, indeed promise, of offering an appointment in the event that the candidate fulfills all requirements to become eligible and a nomination. However, simply becoming qualified with a nomination is not precursor to receiving an LOA. The USNA must perceive 2 things essentially:

    1. There is no potential superior candidate for that specific appointment (student, athlete, diversity target, etc.); and

    2. There is concurrent perceived risk of early self-elimination from candidacy, most likely because of an LOA from another SA, an offer of an athletic (or possibly other) scholarship to a secular institution, or acceptance via early admission. Usually the latter situation involves notably exceptional individuals, i.e. "off the chart" type candidates.

    This is essentially USNA's way of "showing its hand" early in the poker game when for some reason(s) they perceive it to be important in keeping candidates either leaning toward USNA ... or not leaning away and/or toward others.

    While not the question or issue, one would have to wonder what would move USNA officials to do so with your child/candidate, strong as he appears. The better issue would be not to pursue an expectation that is likely to disappoint when not attained, and essentially meaningless for anyone intending to matriculate anyway, when offered.
     
  5. crair70

    crair70 Member

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    Whistle Pig...you mention "diversity target". Curious if you are saying that an under represented minority student is more likely to get a LOA or early acceptance if 3Q,app is complete with nom? I thought the LOA/early acceptance focused mostly towards recruited athletes?
     
  6. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    Yes. And like all LOAs, they need be neither 3Qed nor nominated to receive an LOA. Very clearly, there has been a substantial increase in LOAs at USNA over the past several admissions seasons. Some of that is a function of being more generally competitive. USMA and USAFA have long been issuing many LOAs very early in the process. Traditionally, USNA LOAs were late and few. No longer. I'd beg to suggest that the vast majority are now directed toward key target groups that are not necessarily more tennis or lacrosse athletes. It's one of those unpopular sorta dirty secrets that is direct result of the most recent USNA strategic plan (it's on line) #1 priority ... to align the officer racial/ethnic mix with the enlisted. Tactically, that has meant trying to move the USNA composition toward 40% "diversity" to reflect the enlisted stats, in lieu and stead of trying to align the enlisted statistics with the overall population of the US. Fowler's regime made the monumental mistake of touting this stuff, and along with other consequential and complementary activities, got him fired. Miller's is much more camouflaged. jmo, but affirmative action at its "finest."

    Many do not like exposing and discussing this, finding it somehow controversial, preferring to let it go unnoted. That makes it no less the reality. And it is that reality that all candidates should be aware of as they pursue this road whatever their race, ethnicity, or origin of their parents and grandparents.
     
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2011
  7. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    None of the above is necessarily correct. The purpose of LOAs was to combat the civilian Early Action/Decision programs that were so popular years ago. For the most part, USNA can't offer appointments before Feb/Mar because the MOC noms aren't usually submitted until January (there are exceptions for some Pres noms and some early-bird MOCs). Thus, LOAs were designed to encourage the most highly qualified candidates that they had a really good shot at USNA so they wouldn't abandon the SA process in December in favor of a civilian school.

    I've never heard that they were used disproportionately (or even at all) for recruited athletes or diversity candidates. Not saying these folks don't get them but in my more than a decade of being a BGO, I've never seen it. In fact, several years ago, I had an exceptional diverse candidate (great grades, SATs, sports, activities, etc). The person did not get an LOA and ended up taking Early Decision to an Ivy League School -- with a full ride -- before he/she even heard from USNA.

    And, concur with the above. An LOA is nice but is NOT a guarantee. Last year, I had 2 LOA candidates not get noms and they did NOT get an appointment. Anecdotally, fewer LOAs are going out these days -- probably in part b/c Early Action/Decision programs have become less prevalent.
     
  8. patesq

    patesq Member

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    usna1985 - does this mean that a student with a realistic chance at getting into a top engineering school like MIT or Johns Hopkins has a chance at an LOA? I understand they are rare but just curious.

    Does the ability and desire to participate in a varsity/NCAA sport, in addition to stellar academics, increase this chance? Does it matter that the sport is not one of the more visible sports but is rifle?
     
  9. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    Having done this for more than a decade, I haven't a clue why some people get LOAs and others don't. In my experience, LOA recipients are not necessarily the ones with the highest SAT/ACT scores of my candidates for any given year, they are not necessarily (or usually) recruited athletes, they have not always been NASS attendees, and they have never in my experience been minorities. They are solid candidates but, in my view, not always the most exceptional. Again, this reflects only the students I work with.

    I've never seen any statistics published regarding the number of LOAs that are issued and/or to whom LOAs are directed, other than a generalized, "most highly qualified candidates." I've seen fewer LOAs go out to my candidates in recent years which comports with USNA's recent statements that they are issuing fewer LOAs. And, as noted, an LOA without a nom increasingly means a turndown.

    I've had recruited athletes not only not get LOAs but not get appointments. I personally have seen no correlation between an LOA and one's athletic status -- not saying it doesn't exist only that I haven't seen it. I should point out that BGOs do not work with football and basketball (M&F) recruits due to NCAA rules concerns.
     
  10. AikiBudo

    AikiBudo Member

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    My DS, who received a LOA, was neither a recruited athlete nor a "diversity" target. He was not being "recruited" by Harvard, Yale, etc. Neither were the three other LOAs from this area that I know about. USNA is looking for future Navy officers - smart, hardworking well rounded candidates with the ability to lead (as well as follow). Don't get caught up in this political nonsense regarding diversity. Do not expect the LOA - if it happens great but no one here can really tell you what your chances are of receiving one. Focus on making yourself the best candidate you can.
     
  11. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    I find this absolutely astounding!

    When a candidate gets an LOA, the LOA letter is "copied" to the MOCs. In other words, the candidate's senators and congressman are informed, directly from the academy itself, "If you nominate this candidate, he/she will receive and appointment."

    So, it's puzzling why any of the senators or congressman would deem the candidate "unqualifed", "not competitive", or "undeserving" of a nomination.

    In my opinion, there's much more to those stories than appears on the surface.

    I will speculate that one of the following is true:

    1. The candidate really does not want to attend the service academy and made that known in some way through the nomination process - perhaps the MOC interview.

    2. The candidate said or did something during the nomination process that engendered the ire of the MOC office. Perhaps they were really rude on the phone to the Service Academy Coordinator. Perhaps they were extremely arrogant during the interview. Perhaps they came to their interview dressed in cutoff jeans, flip flops, and unshaven.

    There has got to be some self-induced reason that those candidates did not get a nomination beyond simply not being the most qualified in their area.

    From the MOC perspective, having a candidate that has an LOA is a great deal. It is a guarantee that they will get in if nominated. These politicians love to brag about how many of their candidates get accepted to the service academies and this is a way of getting more than they would normally get.

    For instance, both my sons (twins) got LOAs. They were also both nominated from the congresswoman who had only one vacancy for USNA that year. I don't know who else on her nomination list got appointed, but I'm guessing this was a good deal for her. I don't know the details on how she could get so many appointed off her list when she had only one vacancy. But it happened and I'm sure the LOAs played a role.
     
  12. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    I do not know the reason but it happened. There were actually 3 individuals with LOAs and no noms -- one ended up getting a Supe's nom. Having interviewed them, I have a hard time believing they told me they really wanted to attend USNA and turned around and told their MOC they didn't -- certainly not all 3.

    My own personal opinion is that LOAs are often given without anyone having met the candidate. There are situations where someone looks great on paper but is not impressive in person. If I were on an MOC's nominating committee, I might well decline to give that person a nom. In some cases, it could just be disorganization on the part of the MOC.

    Some have suggested that some MOCs may NOT give LOA candidates a nom in the mistaken belief that the SA will "find" a nom for those individuals and, thus, by nominating non-LOA candidates, they actually increase the number of people eligible for an appointment. The reps for my MOCs deny that they do this and state that they prefer to give noms to LOA candidates. That said, one of my MOCs whose rep said this did NOT give a nom to an LOA candidate. So, go figure.

    The bottom line is that an LOA is NOT a guarantee of an appointment (assuming o/w qualified) unless you have a Pres nom (which is non-competitive).

    FOCUS ON THE APPOINTMENT, NOT THE LOA.:smile:

    The others are slotted to other sources, such as SecNav, Supe, President, etc.
     
  13. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    your MOC had one vacancy but could nominate up to 10 candidates. from there it's up to USNA to decide who to give the appointment from the list of candidates. the others then go into a national pool, which is probably where either one or both of your sons got "charged".

    a student might also get LOAs from the other service academies and depending on what's said in the interviews and how they rank their choice in SA will play a role in if a MOC gives them an appointment too...

    in the end LOAs is not the goal, they are getting fewer and as stated earlier there is no magic code that can give you the idea that your son/daughter is going to get a LOA
     
  14. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    I've read comments of 2 here noting that LOAs are becoming fewer. That is not my observation. To the contrary, over the past 4 years, more and earlier USNA LOAs seem to have been provided. Can you share any background informatio,n, documentation to correct my understanding and validate yours? Thanks.

    btw, one has noted a corollary that early decision/admits at selective secular universities are also dwindling. I'd wonder about that statement as well. Any specifics would be welcome. To the contrary, with the substantial increase and growth in applicant numbers over the past 8 years due to demographics, my understanding is that these have dramatically escalated as competition for admission has done same. I'm sure NACAC and AACRAO have a clear picture of this one.
     
  15. Memphis9489

    Memphis9489 Parent

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    Same with my sons. They are just your typical white kids. They were accomplished baseball players in high school, but they were not recruited for baseball. They had average to sub par CFA scores. One of them did two pull-ups at NASS for his CFA.

    Their ACT scores were high - but nothing unusually high.

    They had high GPA's - but nothing unusually high. I'm certain there were many candidates that had similar or higher GPA's & class standing.

    They were both invited to NASS but only one of them chose to attend. The other said, "Nah, you go. Tell me about it when you get back." The one who attended was not particularly jazzed about it, either. Unlike many candidates who say, "Wow! Summer Seminar was awesome! It really help me decide that the Naval Academy is the place for me," my son was rather ho-hum. I mean, really, who can get excited about waking up early and working out and doing group sit-ups with a telephone pole across your chest? It's Plebe Summer Lite.

    They were both invited to CVW and they both declined to attend.

    They did have a lot of AP courses to their credit, which I'm sure helped.

    Also, they attended a large high school with a very good reputation that has sent many grads on to the service academies in the past.

    When they got their letter of appointment, it sat on the kitchen table for over a month before they got around to signing and mailing it off.

    I'd like to think that it was the magnificent "personal statement" that I coached them through. :smile:

    Yet - they're doing great at the academy. They went in with a very realistic view of what it was about and what was expected of them. Having a father who was a grad and having visited the academy many times over the years probably helped in developing that realistic outlook.

    Then again, the academy does seem to have this obsession with twins. Maybe they were some kind of freak, genetic minority group that gave them "diversity" status. I think their class has seven sets of twins.
     
  16. Whistle Pig

    Whistle Pig Banned

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    THAT's funny, but like you, I do wonder if there is a thread of "truth" in your comment and the observation of many. Maybe it's the "2 for price of 1" phenomenon ... or delusion? :thumb:

    In any case you have to be a proud pappy! And until the recent S&P boondoggle and crashing 401K marketplace, a whole lot more flush! :unhappy:
     
  17. Craig

    Craig Member

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    This whole early admission stuff has been interesting. Over the past year or so, my daughter and I have attended many different forums where Universities and SA's get up in front of the room and talk about the process. Most have some form of an 'early decision' process. Some are 'binding' and some are not. Of course, I'm not sure what they are going to do if you don't show up. So many have this process in place now, it has simply resulted in an earlier timetable to make your application. We have been told the LOA was a reaction to combat the other schools (what USNA1985 said) and I believe what WistlePig says has some truth too (i see it in civilian world all the time and you are dealing with government).

    But in the end, if the Naval Academy is your goal, you have to pass muster with the Naval Academy and a nomination source. And if you really, really desire the Naval Academy, you will fight for your spot until the very end. And when that BFE comes in the mail, you will be more than happy to get on the phone and tell Harvard, MIT, John Hopkins or whoever gave you a spot early on, thanks but no thanks, I am going to the Naval Academy.
     
  18. USNA'02

    USNA'02 Member

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    source is USNA and a briefing I received from admissions this year. USNA gives the least number of LOAs from our sister academies and has been reducing the number of LOAs in the past few years
     
  19. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    DD had detailer who was obsessed with time of uniform change during the day. One day he made them stand against the bulkhead while he showed them how to get ready for the next evolution. Into the room and PT gear to Plebe whites in two minutes. Back into the room and Plebe whites to Parade Dress three minutes. Back into the room and Parade Dress to Cammy two minutes. Back into the room and the twins both came out in PT gear for the finale and the inevitable grueling PT. But they were all still laughing at the end.

    She had a LOA but not recruited and no one from her very small school had ever attended a service academy. I think many kids are backing off from the "binding" early decision and I think going instead for early action as the first really does restrict their options unless they know they really really want that school and no other. I think if you don't show up after accepted under binding early decision another school will not admit you since you must withdraw your other applications? I think that's how they get together and work it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2011

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